Aim: To evaluate the safety of BufferGel (ReProtect LLC, Baltimore, MD), a spermicidal microbicide that acidifies semen and maintains the protective acidity of the vagina, in a high-dose tolerance trial.
Methods: HIV/STD negative, sexually abstinent, and sexually active women in India, Thailand, Malawi, and Zimbabwe were asked to insert one applicator (~5 ml) of BufferGel vaginally twice per day for 14 days. Sexually active women agreed to have sex (while using BufferGel and nonlubricated condoms) at least twice per week.
Results: In total, 98 women (30 sexually abstinent and 68 sexually active) were enrolled. Overall compliance with product use was 93%. Epithelial abnormalities detected by pelvic examination or colposcopy were uncommon (8 cases in 271 examinations). Irritation was reported by approximately one quarter of the women (0.58 events per woman-week) but was generally mild and of short duration. The prevalence of bacterial vaginosis (BV) fell significantly, from 30% at enrollment to 6% at one week, and 7% at two weeks of BufferGel use. Thirty-two women acquired microscopically detectable yeast during BufferGel exposure, but only 3 developed symptomatic vaginitis.
Conclusion: BufferGel appears to be safe and well tolerated by the cervicovaginal epithelium. Its effect on BV and yeasts merits further study.
(C) 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.